HomeThe house famine and how to relieve itPagina 25

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25
is, of course, essential that cheap and rapid transit by electric trams
should be established so as to make suburban districts more acces-
sible, and it is not too much to hope that the new workmen’s scale of
D èd. for three miles now agreed to for the Dover trams will be
extended by the London County Council in the form of an electric
· tram season ticket for workmen not exceeding 6d. per week from
the suburbs to the centre. It is even possible that some day, an
arrangement could be made, whereby, for the addition of, say, Is. per
week to the rents of the proposed suburban cottages, free transferable
season tickets could be granted in respect of each cottage, available
for the use of the occupants, thus practically giving that free transit,
from the suburbs to the centre, which is already secured in the case
of bridges, free ferries, and the lifts in large block buildings.
If, by these means, only half the workers could be induced to
leave the congested districts of London, exorbitant rents would fall,
overcrowding would be diminished and the health of the people
enormously improved, with little or no cost to the rates.
It is obvious, however, that no one remedy by itself will effect
material improvement.
, Cheap transit alone will mean simply an increase of suburban
rents and land values.
Taxation of ground values will only slightly cheapen land, and as
has been seen above, will only affect rents to an infinitesimal extent.
l Private enterprise cannot build healthy houses at a less cost than
£ 50 per room inclusive, which will necessitate rents of at least 2s.
l per room per week. If private enterprise puts up a colony of cheap ,
l houses, it will simply mean a new suburban slum, dangerous to the
public health as well as to the workers. The organised dispersion of
population by municipal action is the only practical and satisfactory
remedy for present evils, and to free the hands of our Councils for
this important work it is necessary that the retorms indicated above
should be earnestly advocated, and speedily secured. In conclusion,
for purposes of reference, certain suggestions for reform made here
and elsewhere are set out below.
1. To prevent the creation and multiplication of new slum ‘
districts-
(cz) Enforce the building bye-laws under the Public
Health Acts.
(6) Enforce the statutory provisions for abating ,
nuisances in existing buildings. ä
_ 2. To clear existing slum areas- ,
f (a) New legislation is required to enable Councils to il
1 purchase and adapt streets of adjacent middle­class houses,
l when they are not in great demand, so as to make cheap *
L tenements for those who must live in the central area.
; (h) Compel owners of property in slum areas to form ‘
an Improvement Trust, and to bear on a pro ram basis the 5
expense of reconstructing sanitary accommodation for the
displaced tenants. Procedure similar to that under the tl.
I Private Street Works Act, 1892, might be adopted. Ti
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